This is such good advice, thanks mouser.
I've been through the ringer about all this backup business. Back in 2003, my IBm Deathstar failed and I lost a huge amount of music. I didn't have any backup in place at the time. Since then, I have been very crazy about backing everything up. In my current computer system (see thread here
) you can see how many drives are added simply for the purpose of backing things up.
The setup goes like this:
--Main hard drive (for OS and apps)
--Main hard drive (for documents and files)
--Backup #1 (backs up the two main drives above; images for the OS drive, file-synching for the document drive)
--Backup #2 (backs up backup #1, accomplished through file-synching)
I even have an additional spare drive since I'm using a 2-bay enclosure. backup #1 is inside my tower, backup #2 is in the external enclosure, and the other bay just has whatever spare drive in there (I just use it to play around with things). Now, that means I'm using a total of 5 drives! I'm almost crossing the line between a normal home PC and some kind of mini-corporate server setup.
Is my setup perfect? not really. As mouser said, there can be several weaknesses even with all the redundancy I have. For one thing, I haven't figured out a good schedule for doing images (for the main drive). I basically just do it occasionally whenever I feel like it. Then, do I replace existing images? Do I do some kind of incremental system? Do I do separate images for each time? The issue with imaging is that the files are very big, and even with cheap drives, you can fill them up pretty fast with images. And it's not just an issue of getting additional hard drives (which ARE cheap). If I add more drives now, i have to think about doing a serious server setup...with NAS connections, or RAID, or I don't even really know about that stuff. Once you get into that, the equipment gets really expensive.
Another issue is that all of this stuff is located in the same room. I should probably keep an additional drive in my parents' house or something. Or back it all up with some kind of uploading service. There is a lot to consider here. Backing up properly is a complex thing. People who don't know a lot about computers have no idea what is involved. Imaging, multiple drives, file syncing, external enclosures. A lot of people think all they need to do is burn their files to a DVD.
One thing I worry about is just like mouser said. I have the backup drives (where one backs up the backup). But let's say I get a horrible virus that infects everything and that gets backed up, and then the backup gets backed up. Well, now I have triple-redundancy, but they are all completely infected. So what now? I don't know...that's where incremental backups and versioning comes in. But then you will start need more drives, and you get into the whole thing I mentioned above. You see how crazy it is? Ugh...